Algae eater suggestions for community tank? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 11 Old 12-12-2012, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Steph211 View Post
Thanks so much for all your help Byron. I have been looking up common freshwater aquarium algae and I think the brown is definitely diatoms. It brushes away very easily. I guess I have it because of low light conditions.

The greenish algae might be cyanobacteria, but after looking at other photos of other algae, I'm wondering if it might rather be a type of brush algae? Tough to tell and I can't seem to get a good photo. If it is a green brush algae I think I saw the recommendation was to cut some of the light. But if I need more light to get rid of the diatoms...? I'm confused.

Today before I did a water change I checked the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. The ammonia and nitrite were both 0 as usual. However the nitrates, which have always held steady in my tank between 20-40ppm, registered 0 today. That seems weird. Could that be related to my algae issue?

I did a 75% water change today and really scraped the sides of the tank well and scrubbed off all the decor. I vacuumed my gravel as usual. All the cleaning kicked up a bunch of the green algae and the water in my bucket was filled with the tiny floaty green bits. I also changed my carbon filter.

I will stick with the frequent heavy water changes, but what do you think regarding light? The tank doesn't really get any direct sunlight, the windows in the room are sort of north-east facing. I have the tank light on about 6-7 hours a day usually. Also, the nitrates level is odd to me. Most of what I read talks about the dangers of high nitrates, but I haven't found anything about low or no nitrates. Any thoughts?

Oh, and thanks for the recommendation. I will read up some on adding plants to the tank.


I would be surprised with zero nitrates in a non-plant tank. Not bad for the fish, but just odd. May be your cleaning efforts are working.

Without photos I can't suggest more on the algae types. But reducing light and adding plants should solve them. The diatoms should be gone once the biological balance is better, and it sounds like that is happening. Floating plants will work fastest here.

Cleaning the aquarium glass shoudl be a weekly task during the water change, at least the front glass. I have one of those scrapers with a sponge-type end that I run over the inside glass on the front of every tank whether I see anything or not. Doing this will get the algae at the first stage and you won't have it on the glass. The side and rear glass I usually leave, or if I see green algae forming I sometimes get it. I only have one tank where I see this.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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